Skip to main content

Draft Central | 2024

Presented by

Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys trade back for more picks


In exactly one month, the NFL Draft will kick off in Detroit, Mich., as the 32 teams will look to add key pieces to their respective rosters.

For the Cowboys, needs are currently present on the offensive and defensive lines as well at linebacker, running back and wide receiver. How the Cowboys decide to prioritize those needs over the three-day period will be a big focal point on the draft.

In the first mock draft of the first round, the Cowboys trade back in the first to help alleviate those needs with an extra third-round pick. Additionally, another NFC East team makes a big trade to grab one of the top defensive players in the draft.

Here is Mock Draft 1.0.

No. 1 - Chicago - QB Caleb Williams (USC) - Surprises happen in the draft, but few would be as shocking as Caleb Williams not ending up in Chicago with the first pick. He has the arm talent, mobility and pocket presence to be the Bears' long-term answer…finally.

No. 2 - Washington - QB Jayden Daniels (LSU) - With the Commanders adding Austin Ekeler, pairing him with a mobile quarterback like Jayden Daniels will only spread the offense out into a dangerous, multiple-type attack.

No. 3 – New England - QB Drake Maye (North Carolina) - With Jerod Mayo taking on the task of finding the Patriots' next long-term solution at quarterback, he stays right at No. 3 and takes one of the more "sure-thing" quarterback prospects we've seen in recent years in Drake Maye.

No. 4 – Arizona - WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State) - The Cardinals entertain trade possibilities but eventually fall on drafting one of the best receiver prospects of the last decade as a new weapon for Kyler Murray.

No. 5 – Minnesota (projected trade with Chargers) - QB J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) -Although the Vikings don't have many picks to address needs in the draft, they package a deal together including future picks to take J.J. McCarthy to replace Kirk Cousins.

No. 6 – NY Giants - WR Malik Nabers (LSU) - The Giants have been desperately seeking a pass-catching weapon to make a difference since the decline of Odell Beckham Jr., and they decide to go with another LSU product to solve that issue.

No. 7 – Tennessee - OT Joe Alt (Notre Dame) - Pairing 2023 first-round pick Peter Skoronski with Joe Alt on the Titans' offensive line will give a wall up front to build for a bright future in Nashville.

No. 8 – Atlanta - EDGE Dallas Turner (Alabama) - There's been a lot of change in Atlanta this offseason, but they still need that elite pass-rusher to attack the quarterback. They get the best one in the draft in Dallas Turner.

No. 9 – Chicago - EDGE Jared Verse (Florida State) - The Bears have a lot of fun options to play with at No. 9, but they decide here to take a strength-based pass-rusher to put on the line opposite of Montez Sweat.

No. 10 – NY Jets - TE Brock Bowers (Georgia) - The Jets are doing all they can to capitalize in the Aaron Rodgers era – grabbing Tyron Smith, Mike Williams and more in free agency – and they take a further step in that direction with another weapon in Brock Bowers.

No. 11 – LA Chargers (projected trade with Vikings) - OT Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State) - The Chargers' offensive line was straight putrid at times last season. They take one of the top tackles in the draft in Taliese Fuaga to keep him on the west coast.

No. 12 – Philadelphia (projected trade with Denver) - CB Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo) - Philadelphia is a team that is never scared to be aggressive on draft day, and in this scenario, they give one of their two second-round picks to Denver – who does not pick in the second round currently – to take the best cornerback in the draft.

No. 13 – Las Vegas Raiders - CB Terrion Arnold (Alabama) - The Raiders are a team that can be wildly unpredictable in the first round, but solidifying a need at cornerback with a talent like Terrion Arnold just makes too much sense to pass up on.

No. 14 – New Orleans - WR Rome Odunze (Washington) - While this slide was less about Rome Odunze and more about the teams picking in front of New Orleans, the Saints add a dynamic weapon opposite of Chris Olave to open up their stale offense from 2023.

No. 15 – Indianapolis - CB Nate Wiggins (Clemson) - Colts fans would be upset watching Mitchell and Arnold come off the board before 15, but grabbing Nate Wiggins provides just as much intrigue. Despite a narrow frame, Wiggins' cover ability will give Indy a day-one starter.

No. 16 – Seattle  - OT Olu Fashanu (Penn State) - Getting an elite tackle like Olu Fashanu at 16 is an opportunity that doesn't come around often, and while Seattle could use more defensive help, getting the Penn State product helps protect an aging quarterback.

No. 17 – Jacksonville - DT Byron Murphy II (Texas) - The depth on the interior defensive line in Jacksonville would scare grown men, but so does Byron Murphy II.

No. 18 – Cincinnati - OT JC Latham (Alabama) - After two season-ending injuries in Joe Burrow's first five seasons, protecting one of the best players in the league is a necessity for Cincinnati. JC Latham gives that immediate relief.

No. 19 – LA Rams - EDGE Laiatu Latu (UCLA) - The retirement of Aaron Donald could tempt the Rams to go interior defensive line with this pick, but with the rise of Kobie Turner last season, adding a weapon on the edge like Laiatu Latu to keep him in the City of Angels would be just as ideal.

No. 20 – Pittsburgh - OT Troy Fautanu (Washington) - There are few men the size of Troy Fautanu that have displayed the athleticism that he did at the combine, and that is exactly what Russell Wilson/Justin Fields will need up front for long-term success.

No. 21 – Miami - C Graham Barton (Duke) - The more you hear about Graham Barton, the more you hear about his intelligence and his NFL-ready repertoire. Miami will heavily consider Jackson Powers-Johnson here, but I see them going with Barton.

No. 22 – Denver (projected trade with Eagles) - QB Bo Nix (Oregon) - This one just makes sense, right? If there were ever a vibes pick, this would be it. While Nix may not be a first-round talent, Sean Payton's history of quarterbacks almost symmetrically reflects what Bo Nix brings to the next level.

No. 23 – LA Chargers (projected trade with Vikings) WR Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU) - After moving on from Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, getting a new weapon for Justin Herbert is critical for Jim Harbaugh's first-year success. Adding 4.34 speed to the outside in Brian Thomas Jr. does just that.

No. 24 – Baltimore (projected trade with Cowboys) - CB Cooper DeJean (Iowa) - Seeing an opportunity to jump ahead of corner-needy teams in a spot where the Cowboys could use extra draft capital, the Ravens send No. 30 and No. 94 to Dallas to grab one of the more versatile and reliable defensive backs in the draft in Cooper DeJean.

No. 25 – Green Bay - OT Amarius Mims (Georgia) - After letting David Bakhtiari go in the offseason, the Packers work towards finding his immediate replacement by drafting Amarius Mims.

No. 26 – Tampa Bay - DT Jer'Zhan Newton (Illinois) - The Buccaneers are quietly putting together a youthful and athletic defensive line, and adding Jer'Zhan Newton to that fold would only add to it.

No. 27 – Arizona - CB Kool-Aid McKinstry (Alabama) - With their second first-round pick, the Cardinals take a high-ceiling cornerback in Kool-Aid McKinstry to take a big step towards solving the secondary issues.

No. 28 – Buffalo - EDGE Darius Robinson (Missouri) - The Bills do need help at the safety position, and Tyler Nubin could be a legitimate option here, but adding versatility up front defensively in Darius Robinson might be the better value pick.

No. 29 – Detroit - EDGE Chop Robinson (Penn State) - The Lions did what they had to do in the 2023 draft offensively, now they look to address some needs defensively. Adding Chop Robinson to play opposite of Aidan Hutchinson does just that.

No. 30 – Dallas Cowboys (projected trade with Ravens) - OT Jordan Morgan (Arizona) - Understanding that there are more needs than picks going into the draft, Dallas picks up another top-100 pick by sliding back six spots. The Cowboys still see an experienced and versatile offensive lineman fall to them at 30, as Jordan Morgan could enter the building and provide a combination with Tyler Smith either at left tackle or left guard.

No. 31 – San Francisco - C Jackson Powers-Johnson (Oregon) - Following the combine, there hasn't been as much optimism around Jackson Powers-Johnson going in the top 20 as there may have been coming out of the Senior Bowl. He still lands in the first round with a team needing offensive line reinforcements.

No. 32 – Kansas City - WR Adonai Mitchell (Texas) - Even with the addition of Marquise Brown this offseason, the Chiefs still could use another weapon for Patrick Mahomes offensively. Adonai Mitchell gives the Chiefs a reliable redzone presence and possession skills that were desperately coveted in Kansas City during its midseason slump in 2023.

Related Content